Turkey F-35 | News & Updates

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Lawmakers offer bill to block F-35 for Turkey
By: Joe Gould
03.May.2019

In this April 3, 2018, file photo, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, applaud during a welcome ceremony prior to their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

WASHINGTON — Key House lawmakers announced their bill Friday to bar the sale of the F-35 warplane to Turkey if Ankara buys the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system.

The bipartisan trio of senior House Armed Services Committee members — Reps. Mike Turner, R-Ohio; John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Paul Cook, R-Calif., sponsored the bill, a companion to a bipartisan bill from Sen. James Lankford, R-Kan., and others. Both bills are called the “Protecting NATO Skies Act of 2019.”

“Operating the S-400 alongside the F-35 would compromise the aircraft and its sensitive technology, impact interoperability among NATO allies, and most importantly pose serious risk to our shared defense and security," Garamendi said in a statement. "This bill sends a strong and important message to Turkey — proceeding with the S-400 is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The House bill came days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly discussed with U.S. President Donald Trump a Turkish proposal to establish a joint committee over Turkey’s plans to purchase the S-400.

A statement from Erdogan’s office says the two leaders held a telephone conversation on Monday during which they also discussed the fight against terrorism and efforts to increase trade.

Turkey’s decision to purchase the advanced Russian system has deepened a rift between the NATO allies.

The U.S. has long been in talks for Turkey to buy the U.S.-made Patriot air defense system as an alternative to the S-400. In March, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told Turner “we need Turkey to buy the Patriot.”

After months of warnings, the U.S., in April, stopped delivery of F-35 parts to Turkey in retaliation for Ankara’s decision to move ahead with the S-400. The aircraft's delivery was planned for this summer, but the move was the first step toward actually ending the sale.

U.S. officials say the Russian defense system could pose a threat to the F-35 program and have warned of consequences if the purchase is finalized.
Turkey denies that the system is a threat and has proposed a joint committee to review security risks.

Turkey is set to buy 100 F-35As over the entirety of the F-35 program and Turkish companies are also part of the program’s industrial base and play a role in sustainment.

However, after months of warnings, Washington stopped delivery of F-35 fighter jet parts to Turkey last month in retaliation for Ankara’s decision to move ahead with the purchase of a Russian surface-to-air missile system.

Last month, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., penned a New York Times op-ed with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., threatening legislation that would bar Turkey from both the F-35 and S-400.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


 

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Turkey won't be deterred by U.S. sanctions on missile systems purchase, VP says
By Daniel Uria
May 5, 2019

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Sunday that Turkey will not allow potential U.S. sanctions to prevent it from purchasing the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. Photo by Robert Ghement/EPA

May 5 (UPI) -- Turkey will follow through on its agreement to purchase the S-400 missile defense system from Russia despite U.S. opposition, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Sunday.

Oktay said that Turkey would not allow the threat of sanctions from the United States to prevent it from purchasing the surface-to-air missile defense system, which U.S. officials have warned aren't compatible with NATO equipment and may compromise U.S.-made Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.

"When Turkey signs an agreement, Turkey keeps its promise. We signed this agreement and certain payments were made," Oktay told Turkish news outlet A Haber. "I don't think the arguments and concerns here have a lot to lean on."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Turkey's Anadolu Agency that each individual nation in the transatlantic agreement is able to make its own decisions regarding defense purchases.

"Decisions about military procurement are for nations to make," he said. "But, as I have said, interoperability of our armed forces is fundamental to Nato for the conduct of our operations and missions."

Stoltenberg also said he supports discussions between Turkey and the United States about purchasing a U.S. patriot missile system and efforts by Turkey, France and Italy to develop a long-range air and missile defense system.

"This is important for NATO because key allies are involved and because we encourage allies to purchase equipment which is able to operate together," he said.

 

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Russia pitches Turkey the Su-57 fighter jet if F-35 deal with US collapses
By: Burak Ege Bekdil  
06-May-2019

A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-57 jet flies over Red Square during a military parade on May 9, 2018. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

ANKARA, Turkey — Russia is “ready to cooperate” with Turkey to sell its new-generation Su-57 fighter jet in case the Ankara government and Turkish companies are expelled from the U.S.-led F-35 program, according to a senior Russian defense official.

“These fifth-generation Russian fighter jets [Su-57] have outstanding qualities, and show promise for export,” said Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia’s state-owned Rostec Corporation.

Chemezov’s statement came in confirmation of an Apr. 19 Defense News story that said if U.S. officials were to expel Turkey from the multinational group that builds the F-35, Turkish defense officials likely would pursue Russian fighter jet technology.

“We cannot afford to leave the F-35 not substituted,” a senior Turkish military officer told Defense news. He declined to comment on the replacement options, as this would require “technological, economical and political deliberations.”

But a defense procurement official said a “geostrategic assessment” would make Russian options emerge as the natural choice. “Russian fighter technology would the first best choice if our American allies behaved in an un-allied way and questioned Turkey’s membership in the Joint Strike Fighter program,” the official said.

Washington has threatened to expel Ankara from the multinational program if Turkey deploys the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system on its soil.

If Turkey accepts the S-400, “no F-35s will ever reach Turkish soil. And Turkish participation in the F-35 program, including manufacturing parts, repairing and servicing the fighters, will be terminated, taking Turkish companies out of the manufacturing and supply chain for the program,” wrote a group of bipartisan lawmakers from the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

 

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Pentagon looks for new vendors to replace F-35 parts made in Turkey
By Allen Cone
MAY 13, 2019

An Airman piloting an F-35A Lightning II completes aerial refueling from an KC-135R Stratotanker on April 26 over an undisclosed location. Photo by Senior Airman Keifer Bowes/U.S. Air Force


May 13 (UPI) -- The Defense Department is seeking new parts suppliers for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to replace those coming from Turkey should it buy a defense system from Russia.

Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, mentioned the search for alternate suppliers during a news conference in the Pentagon on Thursday,

"The U.S. continues to speak with Turkey on a routine basis," Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters during an update on the department's acquisition reforms and major programs. "We have been very clear that the F-35 and the S-400 are incompatible. We have had Turkey as a NATO ally for many years, they're also a very good supplier on the F-35 program. Those partners in the F-35 program are awarded supply chain contracts on the basis of value."

Lockheed Martin is the primary airframe builder and Pratt & Whitney manufactures the propulsion system.

Eight Turkish companies make parts for the fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays of the aircraft, according to Lockheed Martin. Some of them have been producing F-35 parts since 2004. For example, Fokker Elmo manufactures 40 percent of the F-35's electrical wiring and interconnection system.

These companies are set to do $12 billion in work on the F-35 program over the life of the jet, according to USNI News.
The Pentagon has been prepared to find other vendors to supply parts because of the situation with Turkey, Lord said.

"We have for some time now been working to look at alternate sources of supply for the F-35 supply chain that is inside Turkey right now," she said.

"That being said, we continue to work with Turkey and hope that they will use a NATO-compliant system for their air defense system."

Lord couldn't say yet how quickly alternate providers could be put in place but she said stealth jet deliveries might be delayed.

"We see a potential slowing down of some deliveries over the next two years, some potential cost impacts," Lord told reporters. "But right now we believe we can minimize both of those and are working on refining" that analysis.

Fourteen countries participate in the F-35 program.

She noted its F-35 partners are in agreement that Turkey cannot operate the Joint Strike Fighter and the Russian S-400 defense system. The United States and NATO are pushing Turkey to buy Raytheon's Patriot air and missile defense system.

The Pentagon halted the shipment of F-35 planes to Turkey in early April. Turkey was expecting the first of the $90 million jets to arrive in November.

On Friday, the German newspaper Bild reported the government was about to back out of the S-400 deal. But Recep Tayyip Erdogan's communication director, Fahrettin Altun, denied these claims, posting on Twitter: "Take it from me: the S-400 procurement is a done deal."
Six NATO countries have received F-35s: the United States, Australia, Britain, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands. Two other nations that also participated in the aircraft's development -- Canada and Denmark -- are scheduled to receive the aircraft as well.

While Denmark is preparing to receive the aircraft, Canada may be headed in another direction. The U.S. has threatened to pull the F-35 from a competition for its next fighter jet over a contractual dispute. Canada is a partner in the F-35 program, but a dispute over industrial benefits may derail that work, Defense News reported.
I
srael, Japan and South Korea also have signed foreign military sales contracts and received aircraft. Last May, Israel claimed to be the first country to use an F-35 in combat for cross-border strikes in the Middle East.

 

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How is the program going to fail without Turkey? It might be delayed a few weeks but to fail! is a big word. Was not the US that shared the know-how with Turkey in the first place?
 

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Early version of U.S. House bill seeks to bar F-35 from Turkey
May 15, 2019
Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee on Tuesday released an early version of a spending bill that seeks to prevent the shipment of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, as U.S. officials press Turkey not to buy a Russian S-400 air defense system.

The appropriations committee’s bill forbids use of federal funds to deliver F-35s to Turkey. Congress often uses its control of federal government spending to influence policy by barring the use of funds. In this case, the measure would not allow any spending, for example, for fuel or pilots to fly the aircraft to Turkey

Like other NATO allies of Washington, Turkey is both a prospective buyer and a partner in production of the F-35. But U.S. officials have said Turkey’s plan to buy the Russian system would compromise the security of the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets.

The dispute has strained relations between Washington and Ankara.

The House defense appropriations subcommittee will consider the massive bill funding the Department of Defense on Wednesday. The F-35 provision is a small piece of the $690 billion bill.

It is to early to tell when, if ever, the F-35 measure might become law. To pass, the appropriations bill must pass the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, controlled by President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans.

The bill also must be signed into law by Trump, who wants more money - $750 billion - for defense than House Democrats want to provide.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Mike Stone; editing by Cynthia Osterman


 

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Turkey works to fulfill commitments on S-400, F-35: Defense minister
MALATYA- Anadolu Agency
May 18 2019

Turkey is trying to fulfill its commitments and responsibilities both on S-400 air defense system and F-35 fighter jet, the country’s defense minister said on May 17.

“On the issues of both S-400 and F-35, we are showing efforts to completely fulfill whatever our commitments and responsibilities are without flaws,” Hulusi Akar said during his visit to an airbase in eastern Malatya province where F-35 jets will be deployed.

"We are setting up an area for the activities of F-35 here,” Akar said, adding that some parts of the jets were being produced in Turkey.

Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia.

U.S. officials have suggested Turkey buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the F-35 fifth-generation stealth aircraft.

Turkey responded it was the U.S. refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia offered a better deal, including technology transfers.

 

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‘No other options’: US will deliver F-35s, while Turkey will get S-400… and S-500, Erdogan says
19 May, 2019

‘No other options’: US will deliver F-35s, while Turkey will get S-400… and S-500, Erdogan says

© Sputnik / Vitaliy Ankov
The US will ‘sooner or later’ have to face reality and understand that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 systems is a done deal, President Erdogan said, noting that the current agreement is just the beginning.

“We’re done with the S-400. There is absolutely no question of stepping back on the S-400. It is a defense system, not an attack system,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday during a televised question and answer session with university students in Istanbul, adding that the first deliveries of the Russian anti-aircraft weapon system are expected in July.

Explaining that Russian military hardware is offered on “very favorable terms” and with no strings attached, Erdogan said that Ankara is also potentially seeking to acquire the next generation S-500 systems – or even engage in co-production partnership – once Russia completes development of its newest mobile surface-to-air missile system.

The $2.5 billion defense deal with Moscow enraged Washington, which threatened its NATO ally with all kinds of sanctions while offering to substitute the Russian systems with Patriot batteries – a carrot Ankara has been reluctant to accept. At the same time, Washington threatened to block the delivery of 100 F-35 jets purchased by Turkey, and terminate its participation in the F-35 program. Ankara, having invested $1.25 billion in the trillion-dollar program, is a vital partner, producing parts of fuselage, landing gear, and cockpit displays for the jets.

Ankara has repeatedly slammed Washington’s coercive diplomacy, saying that Turkey is not a “slave” dancing to the US’ tune when it comes to protecting the nation’s sovereignty. Nevertheless, Erdogan said he has no doubts that the stealth jets will be delivered.

“They [the US] are passing the ball around in the midfield now, showing some reluctance,” the president said. “But sooner or later, we will receive the F-35s. Not delivering them is not an option.”

 

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USA-Turkey F-35 crisis grows with S-400 delivery before July
20 May, 2019
  • BY: Garrett Reim
  • Los Angeles

Russia could deliver the S-400 anti-aircraft system to Turkey before July possibly forcing the USA to withhold delivery of Ankara’s F-35A stealth fighters.

The US and its allies are concerned that Turkey’s plan to buy the Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system could expose vulnerabilities of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – weaknesses which could then be exploited by Russia. Ankara has dismissed those concerns, says it is going forward with the delivery of the S-400 and expects Washington to deliver its F-35 aircraft in due course.

"It is definitely out of the question for us to step back on the issue of S-400s, it is a done deal," said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a TV broadcast in Istanbul on 18 May, according to Turkish news outlet Daily Sabah. Erdoğan repeatedly has refused to give up the controversial missile system and now says that delivery of the battery is imminent.

"Our deal was to have the S-400s delivered to us by July; they will probably bring that forward," he says.

The S-400 radar system is considered one of the most advanced on the export market and has been advertised by Rosoboronexport as having an "anti-stealth range" of up to 81nm (150km). The system is deployed in strategic locations across Russia, such as Kaliningrad. China and India have also signed deals to acquire the system.

To entice Turkey into giving up the S-400, the USA has instead offered Raytheon’s Patriot missile system. The Patriot missiles system is seen as less advanced and Turkey has refused the trade, however.

In light of Ankara’s march toward the S-400, the US Department of Defense (DoD) halted delivery of F-35 parts and manuals to Turkey in April. This despite Lockheed Martin officially presenting the first F-35A fighters to Turkey in a June 2018 rollout ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. Turkey is not expected to receive the stealth fighter in its own airspace until 2020.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has said he is optimistic that Turkey will give up the S-400 and receive the F-35, but also recently has said that the USA is making moves to replace the country’s participation in the programme. In total, ten different Turkish firms make parts for every F-35 manufactured.

Turkey remains publicly confident that the USA will not remove it from the F-35 programme.

"[The USA is] passing the ball around in the midfield now, showing some reluctance. But sooner or later, we will receive the F-35s,” Erdoğan says. “The US not delivering them is not an option."

Further raising the stakes, Turkey will also help Russia produce its next generation of anti-aircraft systems, Erdoğan says.

"After the S-400s, the S-500s are also considered, and there will be coproduction of S-500s as well," he says.



 

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Turkey has until next month to cancel S-400 Russian arms deal or face harsh US penalties

S-400 Russia Turkey.jpg


WASHINGTON — Turkey has a little more than two weeks to decide whether to complete a complex arms deal with the U.S. or risk severe penalties by going through with an agreement to buy a missile system from Russia, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

By the end of the first week of June, Turkey must cancel a multibillion-dollar deal with Russia and instead buy Raytheon’s U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system — or face removal from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, forfeiture of 100 promised F-35 jets, imposition of U.S. sanctions and potential blowback from NATO.


As it stands now, the U.S. State Department’s current offer is the final one, multiple sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told CNBC when asked whether the deadline had room for more extensions.

Turkey, a NATO member, is slated to receive the Russian-made S-400, a mobile surface-to-air missile system, next month. The S-400 is said to pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons platform.


“NATO countries need to procure military equipment that is interoperable with NATO systems. A Russian system would not meet that standard,” said a U.S. State Department official who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

“We underscore that Turkey will face very real and negative consequences if it completes its S-400 delivery,” the official added.

In 2017, Ankara brokered a deal reportedly worth $2.5 billion with the Kremlin for the S-400 despite warnings from the U.S. that buying the system would come with political and economic consequences.


In multiple efforts to deter Turkey from buying the S-400, the State Department offered in 2013 and 2017 to sell the country Raytheon’s Patriot missile system. Ankara passed on the Patriot both times because the U.S. declined to provide a transfer of the system’s sensitive missile technology.

All the while, Turkey has become a financial and manufacturing partner for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the world’s most advanced fighter.
 

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Kremlin condemns alleged U.S. ultimatum to Turkey over missile deal
May 22, 2019

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Wednesday condemned as unacceptable an alleged U.S. ultimatum to Turkey designed to force it to cancel a deal to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and purchase U.S. Patriot missile systems instead.

Moscow was responding to a CNBC report which said Washington had given Turkey just over two weeks to scrap the Russian deal and do an arms deal with the United States instead or risk severe penalties.

Turkey and the United States have been at odds on several fronts, including Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says the Russian deal, if it goes ahead, would jeopardize Turkey’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.
When asked about the CNBC report by reporters on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

“We regard this extremely negatively. We consider such ultimatums to be unacceptable, and we are going on the many statements made by representatives of Turkey’s leadership headed by President (Tayyip) Erdogan that the S-400 deal is already complete and will be implemented.”
Turkey’s defense minister said earlier on Wednesday that Ankara was preparing for potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of the Russian missile system even though he said there was some improvement in talks with the United States over buying F-35 fighter jets.

Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya/Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Andrew Osborn

 

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Turkey preparing for possible U.S. sanctions over S-400s: minister
May 22, 2019
Orhan Coskun


ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s defense minister said it was preparing for potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, even while he said there was some improvement in talks with the United States over buying F-35 fighter jets.

Turkey and the United States have been at odds on several fronts including Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says it would jeopardize Turkey’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, which it says would be compromised by S-400s.

While Washington has warned that Ankara faced sanctions under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) if it presses on with the deal, Turkey has said it expected U.S. President Donald Trump to protect it.

Speaking to reporters late on Tuesday, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey was fulfilling its responsibilities in the F-35 project and expected the program to continue as planned. He said buying the S-400s was only meant to meet Turkey’s defense needs and posed no threats.

“We are doing whatever normal bilateral agreements mandate. Though there are some issues from time to time, we are pleased that there has been no sharp turn until now... Turkey is also making preparations for the potential implementation of CAATSA sanctions,” he said.

“In our talks with the United States, we see a general easing and rapprochement on issues including the east of the Euphrates, F-35s and Patriots.”

Turkey’s lira has been sliding in part on concerns over the U.S. sanctions, which would hit an economy already in recession after a currency crisis last year. Among its other disputes with Washington is strategy in Syria east of the Euphrates River, where the United States is allied with Kurdish forces that Turkey views as foes.

Akar said linking the S-400s purchase with that of the F-35s is “another hurdle” and noted that nine NATO partners have a stake.

“There is no clause anywhere in the F-35 agreement saying one will be excluded from the partnership for buying S-400s,” he said. “Turkey has paid $1.2 billion. We also produced the parts ordered from us on time. What more can we do as a partner?”

In trying to persuade Turkey to give up the Russian missiles, the United States has offered to sell its rival Raytheon Co. Patriot missile defense systems, which Akar said Ankara was evaluating. He said Turkish and U.S. officials were working on price, technology transfer and joint production issues on the latest U.S. offer in late March.

The minister also said conceptual work on the SAMP-T defense systems with the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium were expected to be completed in October. He said EUROSAM had offered to install a SAMP-T battery in Turkey and that scouting work would be carried out.

Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans, Jonathan Spicer and Peter Graff

 
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